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Constipation in hip fracture patients

Int J Nurs Pract (2014) doi: 10.1111/ijn.12312

Nurses should ask about and help manage constipation in people discharged into the community following surgery for hip fractures, Danish researchers have suggested.

The researchers interviewed 106 patients on admission. Most (70.8%) of the patients were women, with a mean age of 78.1 years. They re-interviewed 97 patients on discharge and 75 patients 30 days after surgery.

At admission, 17% of hip-fracture patients reported dry and hard stools, increasing to 24% at discharge and 35% after 30 days. Furthermore, 52%, 69% and 63% patients respectively complained of prolonged and difficult bowel movements.

Patients first defecated, on average, 3.2 days after surgery, although the time to first bowel movement ranged between one and nine days. On average, patients defecated normally 9.5 days after hip fracture surgery. However, 23% of patients did not re-establish normal defecation within the first 30 days after surgery. The authors commented that further studies are needed to help patients cope with constipation after they are discharged into the community following surgery for hip fracture.

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